Mary Dooe joined the Marketplace team in June 2011 as a production intern for Marketplace Morning Report. She's worked on nearly every show and desk at Marketplace, as a digital producer, radio producer, and director as needed. Mary was an assistant producer on the Sustainability Desk in 2013 working on the special project Consumed.

Mary graduated from Columbia University with a degree in history and anthropology. She also completed her master's at the New School for Social Research in New York City. She has interned, written, and/or worked for Harper's Bazaar, the New York Daily News, the Newark Star-Ledger,, and Studio360 with Kurt Andersen, among others. A Boston native and lifelong competitive swimmer, she currently resides in (not as warm and sunny as she expected) Los Angeles... and very much misses the New York subway system.


Features by Mary Dooe

By the Numbers: Consumed Day 4


The year that Ted Benna, the father of our modern retirement fund system, stumbled upon an obscure add-on to tax code 401 -- otherwise known as the 401(k). (Marketplace)

27 percent

The drop in the value of the average 401(k) plan tracked by Fidelity Investments during the financial crisis. (Reuters)


The amount the typical middle-class household nearing retirement has saved -- one-tenth what many say it needs. (Center for Retirement Research)


The age you are supposed to start saving for retirement by... and never stop. (Fidelity)


The number of acres the government offered homesteaders to go to Montana in the 1910s and start to farm. (Marketplace)

Consumed: The #longreads reading list

Didn't get enough of our coverage of the consumer economy? Here's a list of books and articles our reporters and producers went to to get answers about how and why we spend.
Posted In: longreads, Books

What's the dumbest investment you've ever made?

The consumer economy isn't just about buying more and more stuff -- there's a flipside.

The more we spend, the less we have to save. That can make planning for the future -- keeping our lifestyle sustainable, in other words -- incredibly difficult.

We want to know: What's the dumbest investment you've ever made -- the one you've regretted the most?

Tell us by tweeting @MarketplaceAPM, posting on our Facebook page or leaving a comment below

By the Numbers: Consumed Day 3

8 million

The number of people working part-time jobs in the U.S. who'd like to be employed full-time. (BLS)


Median total debt of households with head of household under 35. That's down from $21,912 in 2007. (Pew)


The hourly federal minimum wage, as of July 2009. (Dept. of Labor)


Share of 25 year olds with student debt as of quarter 4, 2012. In Q4 of 2007, that figure was just 31%. (NY Fed)


The share of U.S. workers who are working part-time. When the recession began, that figure was 16.9 percent. It rose sharply in 2008 and 2009, and hasn't fallen much since then. (Economix)

By the Numbers: Consumed Day 2

383 million

The number of open credit card accounts in the U.S. as of March 2013 (NY Fed


The average price of a designer shoe at Barney's in March, 2012. WAYYY back in the early 2000s, as referenced in Season 4 of Sex and the City, the price of pair of Manolo Blahnik's was $485. (Jezebel)

118.7 %

Debt as a share of disposable income in 2011. In 1956, that number was just 22 percent. (State of Working America)

$1,737.6 billion

Corporate profits after tax, in dollars, in the first quarter of 2013. (St. Louis Fed)

4,000 %

The amount General Electric stock went up during the tenure of CEO Jack Welch. (CBS News) Welch's 1981 speech titled 'Growing fast in a slow-growth economy' is often agreed on as the dawn of corporate focus on shareholder value. In 2009, with a few more years under his belt, he later refered to this focus on quarterly profits and share price gains as "the dumbest idea in the world." (Businessweek)

9.6 million

Average CEO pay in 2011 -- up 6 percent from the previous year. (USA Today)

43 percent

Visa's profit margin; Mastercard stands at 40 percent margins, and Discover has a 30 percent profit margin. Guess that explains how we're buying all of our stuff! (Seeking Alpha)

Tell us: You know you have a good job when...

A whole lot of the American economy depends on consumers.

We hear over and over, consumers need to borrow more and spend more to help the economy recover, but many of the jobs being created today are part-time or temporary. When jobs become insecure, our spending is affected.

So we want you to fill in the blank: You know you have a good job when _____.

Tweet us @MarketplaceAPM, post on our Facebook page, or tell us in the comments below.

Tell us: What's the craziest thing you've been upsold?

For today's consumer economy to keep chugging along, businesses need to keep selling products. And often, they find that it's easier to simply sell more to existing customers than try to pick up new ones.

Enter the practice of upselling: Maybe it's "Do you want fries with that?" or maybe it's "How about some new rims to go with those tires?"

Whatever it is, we want to know: What's the craziest thing you've ever been upsold?

Tell us in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

By the Numbers: Consumed Day 1


The median value of a home in Charles County, Md. --  a fast-growing suburb of Washington, D.C. where parents move to give their children the best opportunities their money can buy. (Census)


The percent Toll Brothers, the high-end homebuilder, has seen its stock go up in the last year. New home construction is one of the building blocks of today's consumer economy. It’s up in many places, so much that builders have trouble finding skilled workers. Lots of new subdivisions out there. (YCharts)


The average annual expenditure of a "consumer unit" in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's really only a notch below $50,486, the number for 2008 (during the height of the financial crisis). (Bureau of Labor Statistics)


The number of iPhones sold as of October 2012, up from just one million way back in September 2007. That's a whole lot of rugrats running around playing Angry Birds, people. (CNet)


The price tag on a video game development camp to send your budding programmer. Even the good old fashioned YMCA camps will run you $150-400 per kid, per week. (Fiscal Times)

$986 billion

The total amount of student loan debt in the U.S., as of March 2013. Hope those college degrees are paying off! (NY Fed)

Worth It or Not? Create a poll and find out

From cameras to houses to children, it can be hard to know if we are making the best choices with our money when we buy things. Our new poll game helps you decide: is it worth it? Find out how to use it.

Can we afford the consumer economy?

Marketplace will spend a week looking at all aspects of the consumer economy -- from businesses to workers to shoppers -- and ask: Can we keep going at this rate?
Posted In: consumer, consumer spending


With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation